Invisible Cities Sociology

Decent Essays
Many of the cities described in Invisible Cities, apply to concepts of urban theorists discussed in class. Calvino focuses on specific subjects for each of the fifty-five cities. A few of the cities that correlate with theories studied in the second half of class are Zobeide, Chloe, and Anastasia. Zobeide greatly corresponds with Elijah Anderson’s “Code of the Street,”. Anastasia corresponds with this, as well, but a different piece of it. Anastasia can be associated with the “decent” orientation, and Zobeide with the street families/role of the “man of the house” and cultural exclusion. Chloe can represent the hierarchies of relationships, purposeful associations, and patterns of interaction discussed by Whyte, Putnam, Mumford, and Wirth.…show more content…
Anastasia, while at first giving the idea of Las Vegas almost, capture’s the ideal of descent families. Anderson describes how descent families have a certain hope to work hard and build a successful life. They live in a desire to be a certain way and to accomplish so much, but these high expectations are almost a trap, and can create issues. Anderson describes this with the man’s role in the household. Because so much is expected of him, or society expects him to full take this role, if he is unable to provide, he often leaves. This can greatly affect the family. In a similar way, Anastasia embodies this city of awakening desires; one believes these desires are what one wants, when the desires are really in control. These expectations of roles that are supposed to be taken in the descent family, has control over the family. When one cannot live up to the expectations, they often abandon that life altogether. The family might have good intentions and think that it is for the good of the family to fit into these guidelines, but it does not ensure that their life will become what they hope of…show more content…
Especially during the lecture on urbanism versus agrarianism, we discussed what it means for strangers to see each other on a daily basis, and not know anything about one another. This is contrary to a small town dynamic, with everyone knowing one another. Calvino even mentions eye contact in Chloe, that barely meets, then darts away. In class, we discussed how locking eyes is seen as humanizing in social interactions, and for that gaze to remain socially cues and invitation to interact. So strangers generally avoid this with one another. There are certain normalized behaviors, and those that are social deviance. Depending on the city, a stranger might be surprised by certain deviant appearances on a metro for instance, whereas a person who fits into the normalized appearance may blend in. But there is this question of how this might affect social interaction. Mumford discusses purposeful associations, and one will not voluntarily interact, unless there is a reason for this interaction. Putnam argues that this lack of verbal interaction, yet constant assumptions like in Chloe, is harmful to a city. That an individual no longer cares about connectivity or community. There are certain normalized ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs,’ but like in Chloe, many city interactions include gazes, assumptions, and daydreaming, but little discussion. But these assumptions, like in Chloe, can be purposeful when in an area where one
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